Angul: Sundari, the Royal Bengal tigress recently released into Satkosia Tiger Reserve, is suspected of mauling a woman to death at Hatibari village under Tikarapada range in Angul district on Wednesday.
The deceased woman, identified as Kailashi Garnayak, went missing in the morning. The villagers later found her body near the forest.
The locals alleged that tigress had strayed into the village on Tuesday. It is being suspected that the big cat attacked and killed the woman while she was taking bath in a pond near the village.
The forest department officials have rushed to the spot to investigate the incident.
It is for the second time that the tigress, which was released into the wild on August 18, strayed into human habitation. On September 3, it had crossed the Chanagodi Nullah to hunt a calf at Bipradiha village under Dhandatopa forest range.
These incidents have send shiver down the spine of the villagers living on the periphery of Satkoia Wildlife Sanctuary.
Earlier, villagers of about 20 panchayats had taken out a rally expressing concern over threat to their lives and that of the livestock because of the big cat. They sat on a dharna opposing release of the tiger from Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh into the wild of Satkosia Sanctuary.
Alleging indifference, the irate villagers had threatened to kill the tiger if the Forest Department failed to ensure their safety. They also slammed the department officials for denying them basic rights by closing down the forest roads and restricting their movement.
A male tiger was released into the wild on July 6. The following month, the Royal Bengal tigress, brought from Madhya Pradesh’s Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, was also released with an aim to increase the population of the big cat in the sanctuary.
Following protests, Forest and Environment Minister Bijayshree Routray had urged the villagers not to panic. He had assured them that the big cat would never stray into human habitations since there was plenty of food and space in Satkosia.
There were several tigers in the sanctuary in the past and none ever harmed any human being, he had said.